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My Life in the Seabees
An Interview with George Schmitt

I met George Schmitt, a boatswain's mate second class with the 69th Naval Construction Battalion, on America On Line in January 1995. Since then, we have corresponded, often via email. He has given me valuable insight into life in a construction battalion in World War II.

Enlisting in the Seabees at the young age of 18, George joined at a time when the Seabees were changing their recruiting focus from older, experienced construction workers to younger men. Now 73 years old, George served with the 69th Naval Construction Battalion for two and a half years from 1943 to 1945.

No way did I want the Army
When George joined the Seabees, he didn't have any construction experience. If he had any redeeming skill at the young age of 18, he was an expert swimmer.

I Always Liked the Water
His love for the water naturally led to diver training and being rated as a boatswain's mate. In the end, he did more diving during training than while overseas.

Guard Duty was not My Favorite Pastime
Look at some of the jobs George did in the Seabees. Mess cooking and pulling guard duty were tasks all lower rated Seabees confronted.

I Never Saw So Much Mud
Working as a signalman, George spent a month directing landing craft and barges at Omaha Beach. The Seabees lived in a tent camp amid oceans of mud.

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